Civil unions are not the answer


After months of heated debate and discussion surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage, many in the Rhode Island General Assembly are now floating the idea of passing a so-called “Civil Unions” bill as an alternative.

It is clear that many elected officials on Smith Hill are tiring of shouts of homophobia and bigotry from the radical homosexual lobby, but are also unwilling to sacrifice the sacred institution of marriage in the name of so-called “equality.” So there seems to be support for such a “compromise measure” because many legislators believe that such a bill would protect marriage while also appeasing homosexual activists who are demanding that marriage be redefined to include same-sex couples.

Proponents will undoubtedly argue that civil unions are no threat to the institution of marriage. All one has to do is look to the west to see that’s not the case. Last year a federal judge ruled that California’s attempt to grant civil union-like benefits to same-sex couples created a “second-class citizenship”– and he ordered same-sex marriage as the way to fix the “problem” – despite California’s state marriage amendment which supposedly protected marriage. Currently Rhode Island law has no marriage amendment and even if it did there is no guarantee that it would deter activists’ judges from issuing a ruling in imitation of the California courts.

If legislators believe that the object of providing equal benefits and protections with civil unions will settle the issue for them, they are sadly wrong. Far from settling the issue, the passage of civil union legislation only advances the drive to same-sex marriage by framing the perception of same-sex relationships as “separate but equal.” Such a course of events have taken place in recent years in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire with civil unions ultimately becoming the stepping stone to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships as marriage.

The Catholic Church speaks clearly to the issue of marriage and continues to uphold that it is not merely just any relationship between human beings. Marriage has been established by our Creator in harmony with the nature of man and woman and with its own properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman. However well-intentioned it is the experiment called “Civil Unions” is not an acceptable alternative to marriage as it too undermines the unique relationship of one man and one woman in holy matrimony by giving equal status, albeit by another name, to same-sex relationships. Further, it is clear from recent history that once civil union status is granted it quickly advances into the legal recognition of same-sex relationships as marriage.

We hope that those members of the Rhode Island General Assembly who have consistently supported traditional marriage will stay steadfast in their opposition to the legal recognition of same-sex relationships as either marriage or civil unions. Government sanctioned civil unions cannot be supported by those who truly understand the unique nature and status afforded a man and a woman in marriage. We call upon the members of the Rhode Island House and Senate to cast aside such compromises and rather work to strengthen marriage in our state by passing a Defense of Marriage Bill that clearly defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Only then will the attempts by radical activists to redefine marriage and undermine family life in Rhode Island finally be stopped. Civil Unions are not the answer.